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Red Fish Restaurant Chain: A Case Study on HR Strategy and Culture

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes:

LO3: Investigate the alignment of people development systems to operational requirements and strategy.

LO4: Analyse the effectiveness of a workforce plan in terms of its contribution to an organisation’s strategy and success.

LO5: Apply a training and talent management approach that can be used to successfully engage and retain employees.

LO6: Illustrate the impact of change management on corporate culture and the people in an organisation.

  1. Instructions and guidelines (Read carefully)
  2. Insert your name and surname in the space provided above, as well as in the file name. Save the file as: First name Surname Assignment UCT AOM M5 U2 Activity Submission – e.g. Lilly Smith UCT AOM M5 U2 Activity Submission. NB: Please ensure that you use the name that appears in your student profile on the Online Campus.
  3. Write all your answers in this document. There is an instruction that says, “Start writing here” under each question. Please type your answer there.
  4. Submit your assignment in Microsoft Word only. No other file types will be accepted.

4.Do not delete the plagiarism declaration or the assignment instructions and guidelines. They must remain on your assignment when you submit.

Plagiarism cases will be penalised according to the Head Tutor and GetSmarter's discretion.

  1. There are seven pages and eight questions in this assignment.
  2. Make sure that you have carefully read and fully understood the questions before answering them. Answer the questions fully but concisely and as directly as possible. Follow all specific instructions for individual questions (e. g. “list”, “in point form”).
  3. Answer all questions in your own words. Do not copy any text from the notes, readings or other sources. The assignment must be your own work only.

Plagiarism declaration:

  1. I know that plagiarism is wrong. Plagiarism is to use another’s work and pretend that it is one’s own.
  2. This assignment is my own work.
  3. I have not allowed, and will not allow, anyone to copy my work with the intention of passing it off as his or her own work.
  4. I acknowledge that copying someone else’s assignment (or part of it) is wrong, and declare that my assignments are my own work.

Mark allocation

Each question receives a mark allocation. However, you will only receive a final percentage mark and will not be given individual marks for each question. The mark allocation is there to show you the weighting and length of each question.

Assignment questions

The questions in this assignment are based on the following case study:

Red Fish adopts a new HR strategy:

The executive board at the Red Fish restaurant chain noticed that staff turnover rates had increased over the past year. As a result, the company decided that in order to maintain its competitive edge it would make wholesale changes to its HR strategy regarding recruitment, selection, engagement, and retention. The company wants to attract only the best waitrons and managers.

Over the next year, Red Fish adopted this new HR strategy and compiled this report:

Everyone at Red Fish, from the executive board, managers and waitrons alike, attended a two-day orientation camp. At the camp, employees went on fishing excursions, engaged in teambuilding activities, had fun and were given classes on Red Fish’s philosophy and approach to dining. They received a Red Fish shirt and wallet that clearly lists the company’s value system, which they carry at all times. The Red Fish value system is to bring a fun, healthy, nurturing environment into the Red Fish culture. The initial classes helped employees develop both personally and professionally. The HR department now plays a critical role in any service organisation, but at Red Fish, with its “experience strategy”, HR takes on an added responsibility.

Red Fish’s strategic plan includes building a culture that allows for acceptance of substantial diversity and individualism. From an HR perspective, this contributes to a large pool of applicants as well as to the restaurant chain’s culture. It is a challenge to create a working environment, especially in the restaurant industry, that is based on more than just salary. Although above-market pay and benefits (which Red Fish has) is a start, it also needs to provide an environment that works for its employees. This includes:

  • Benefits for part-time staff who work at least 19 hours per week (on average, full-time waitrons work 35 hours per week in the industry);
  • Respect for individuality;
  • Continuous training and development,
  • A high level of internal promotions (at Red Fish, 60% of managers are promoted from part-time or full-time staff).

Plagiarism declaration

Company training at Red Fish is very specific and involves interactive CDs and DVDs that cover kitchen, retail, and front-of-house service. Employees are also encouraged to do community volunteering; this helps to create a bond between the workers, their community, and issues that are important to them.

The recruitment process at Red Fish is also very strict. Applicants are screened on a number of behaviours and values, but knowledge of fishing and the fish industry is highly valued. Red Fish hires individuals that are intelligent, ambitious, have positive attitudes and are self-motivated, and also looks to empower employees as much as they can. The result of this approach is that the culture at Red Fish is unique and the working environment engaging, which will result in a lower turnover of part and full-time staff (less than the industry standard).

The layout of restaurants, Red Fish memorabilia and decorations, music, and live entertainment and videos are important elements of the Red Fish “experience”. However, it is the task of the waitrons and staff to make this experience live. They are particularly focused on providing an authentic and memorable dining experience for all patrons. By succeeding with its HR strategy of “people who like to serve”, Red Fish is able to obtain a competitive advantage.

Question 1

How and why does Red Fish’s approach to motivating its employees work? What has the company done to make its employee turnover rate lower than the industry average? Provide at least five points in your answer (Maximum 250 words).

Question 2

Illustrate the type of employees that would be happy to work at Red Fish? Give at least two examples in your answer (Maximum 100 words).

Question 3

What does Red Fish’s HR department do to support the company’s overall strategy?  Provide at least three points in your answer (Maximum 100 words).

Question 4

What are some potential problems that this HR system could create for management and the employees? List at least three potential issues in your answer (Maximum 150 words).

Question 5

According to Hackman and Oldham’s core hob characteristics, how would Red Fish’s value system work for assembly line workers? Provide at least five ways in which the system could work (Maximum 200 words).

Question 6

Do you believe the change this HR approach is sustainable in the long-term (3 to 5 years)? Justify your answer by providing three reasons (Maximum 200 words).

Question 7

The executive board at Red Fish has approached you as an operations manager to give them advice on how to adjust their workforce plans to accommodate for this new strategy and growth. What advice could you give them? Provide at least four points of advice in your answer. (Note: Your answer should be in bullet point form.)

Question 8

How has this change in HR strategy impacted on the culture of Red Fish and the employees working there? Provide at least five ways that this change has impacted on the culture and staff (Maximum 200 words).

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